Response to Diversity and Race in the Walking Dead

After reading Marina’s post, I wanted to respond to some of the questions she posed but found that I got carried away and it turn into a semi-post.

Here are her questions she poses in reference to diversity in the Walking Dead game:

Did you even notice the diversity? If you didn’t, do you think that is a good thing? If you did, do you think it was a good or bad thing to not incorporate any race issues in the same way the series did?

Marina raises some very interesting questions and points. The only time I noticed diversity was when I was downloading the game and saw that the main character was a black male. I am not sure if it was a good or bad thing on me missing out on any of the other diverse aspects of the game. I guess in retrospect one could say that there was a relatively good balance of men and women in the game but it wasn’t something I actively noticed until her post provoked me to think about it. However, I haven’t had much exposure to a vast variety of games so a person who is more attuned to the typical diversity of a game may be better at addressing you questions.

I think it is difficult to say whether or not it is good or bad. As MP mentioned in class, people of color almost never have the opportunity to be neutral. Even if the game attempts to make them neutral, we still as players are thinking of their race and whether or not this neutrality is appropriate. I think that the game is “idealistic” (minus the zombies and all the other problems…) It does hint at underlying racial tensions between Lee and Larry when Lee is given the option to call Larry a racist, which we are not sure he is at that point in the game. I think what I am trying to say is that I do not think it is bad– it is just not reality, which is perhaps a good thing in a way because racism is a societal flaw and the game is offering up an alternative mindset. One can argue that by not illustrating the reality of our racist society, we are furthering the injustice by ignoring the problem. However, I think that offering up a space in which people of color can be semi-neutral characters is a good thing. My thinking is that if, for example, a child plays a game in which POCs are neutral then perhaps they will view them as neutral and viewing them as anything other than neutral will never cross their mind–sort of like the phrase “speaking it into existence”, except they’ll be playing it into existence or something along those lines.

EDIT:  I was reading post from the other blogs when I read BF’s post about racism in the Walking Dead. Apparently, in episode two, there are more explicit references and occurrences of racism. So perhaps, this game is not a neutral zone for people of color. I still maintain, however, that a neutral place for people of color would not necessarily be a bad thing in gaming.

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